We explain the history behind the main divinities of the lands of the Nile.
The Egyptian gods were the fundamental figures for beliefs and rituals in Ancient Egyptian society. These beliefs formed a whole complex system of interaction between gods and the civilian people, which was convinced of the control and supernatural powers that these divinities had, capable of altering the destiny of people.
In this way, the attributes, offerings, prayers and other rituals dedicated to the Egyptian gods, were exclusively directed to win their sympathy and be able to count on their favors.
On the other hand, a well-known figure from Ancient Egypt is the pharaoh who, in addition to ruling, served as a link between the divinity and the people. The citizens expressed all kinds of obeisances to him to keep their gods “happy” and for them to maintain a state of order and permanent peace.
- Maybe you’re interested: ” The history of the symbol of Psychology (Ψ) “
The most important Egyptian gods
Below you can find a list of the most significant Egyptian gods, with a brief description of each one and explanations about the influence they had throughout history.
He was the father god of Seth, Nephythys, and Osiris, and used to be depicted as a man with a goose on his head. No type of own cult was attributed to him by his condition of earthly God. It was a symbol of fertility, and earthquakes in Egypt were related to the god Geb with their laughter.
The body of this female god was made up of three different animals: lion, crocodile and hippopotamus. Unlike the rest of the gods, Ammit was considered a demon, and was feared for all that he represented (death).
Father of Nut and Geb, and husband of Tefnut. Together with his wife, they were the first Egyptian gods created by Atum. He was the god of air and sunlight; Shu’s main task was to support the body of the goddess Nun and thus separate heaven from earth.
Mother goddess of Nephythys, Seth, Isis and Osiris. By the composition of its fine, thin and elongated body, it symbolized the sky. According to ancient Egypt, Nut swallowed the sun every evening and gave it light at morning break. Its graphic representation is in many temples, as well as in the coffins of the dead.
This god was also known as Ammon, and was the main deity of the city of Thebes. He was the patron of the pharaohs of the same city, and was placed at the highest level of the pantheon along with the god Ra. The fusion between Amun and Ra gave birth to the god Amun-Ra, and he was baptized as “the king of the gods”.
This god was represented as a man with the head of a jackal. Son of Seth and Nephythys, he was the protector of the dead. Anubis was in charge of bringing the dead to the day of their final judgment. It was also related to the process of mummification and preservation of bodies.
He was a god of the underworld, whose name had the meaning of “devourer of eternity. ” He was represented as a man with the head of a dog who lived in a lake of fire.
This female goddess was highly regarded in ancient Egyptian culture. Many temples were dedicated to it, since it represented the goddess of war. The same god Ramses named her daughter Bint Anat (daughter of Anat in Arabic).
Contrary to the other gods, Bes was drawn with his gaze straight ahead, and not in profile. He was a stocky, short-limbed being with his tongue sticking out, and was considered the god of childbirth. Bes is believed to chase away demons at night and protect people from dangerous animals.
He was the god who represented the flow of the Nile River. He was a man with large breasts and a belly and an ornamentation on his head made of aquatic plants. It is believed that he lived in the river caves and his cult was forged around the city of Aswan.
Main enemy of the god Seth, this god was the son of Isis and Osiris. His representation has always been diffuse: some Egyptologists claim that he was a man with the head of a hawk, others like a whole hawk and some claim that Horus was a curly child sitting on his mother’s lap.
After killing the god Seth, he became the king of Egypt, he was the god of heaven and he was considered the protector of kings.
He was one of the few commoners to be granted divine status. He was an Egyptian mathematical expert and served as chancellor during the time of the Third Dynasty. He himself had his own tomb built in what would be his last home (it has been hidden since then and its whereabouts have not yet been known).
A fundamental figure in the mythology of ancient Egypt, Isis was the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus. It was related to funeral rituals and is said to have created the first mummy from the dismembered remains of Osiris.
When she resurrected Osiris, she gave life to Horus, which is why she was also considered the goddess of life, healing, and a protector of kings. For ancient culture, Isis represented the ideal, loving, devoted and caring wife.
Daughter of Geb and Nut, sister of Isis, wife of Seth and mother of Anubis, this goddess was known as the “lady of the palaces”. Like the goddess Isis, Nephythys is considered the Egyptian goddess protector of the dead.
One of the most important gods, he was the first king of Egypt. It was assumed that it was he who brought civilization to the human race. Resurrected by his wife Isis, he thus became the god of the underworld and the chief judge of death.
He was the supreme god of the sun, represented as a hawk-headed man. Every night he traveled to the underworld to fight evil and chaos, and at dawn he was reborn. The Egyptian kings claimed to be direct descendants of Ra, which is why they called themselves “Children of Ra”.
He was the son of Geb and Nut, brother of Osiris. He was considered the god of darkness, confusion, and chaos. He was represented as a man with an elongated snout head and long ears, possibly the skull of an aardvark. Seth killed his brother and stole the throne of Egypt, and most of the gods hated him. Horus managed to finish off Seth, in what was considered the battle between good and evil.
Goddess of moisture and corrosion, she was the wife of Shu and mother of Nut and Geb. Together with her husband, they were the first gods created by Atum. She has been represented in two ways: a woman with the head of a lion or as a lioness.
He was regarded as the creator of the world through his thoughts and prayers, and therefore he was considered the creator god. Ptah was related to artisans and had a temple in their honor.
According to Egyptian mythology, it was first a lotus flower that existed during the creation of the world and arose from the source of life. He was considered the son of the creator god, Ptah, and the goddess Sekhmet. He was typically depicted as a handsome, stocky young man.
Egyptian god represented by a great serpent, was also considered another protective deity. He raided the god Ra during his nocturnal descent into darkness (remember that Ra was the protector of good).
His name means “traveler”, perhaps related to the trip he made to the moon every night. This god had a major role in the creation of life and creatures. In this way he was considered the god of the moon.
He is one of the oldest Egyptian gods in mythology, and is represented as a man with the head of a ram. Originally considered the source of the Nile River, he was also considered the creator of children, making them out of mud to introduce them into their mothers’ wombs.
She was the goddess of love, fertility, sex, war, and power. She was the daughter of Anu. It is believed that she was the divine personification of the planet Venus.
This Egyptian god is the favorite of science fiction novels and movies. It was related to the blue beetle. Khepri symbolizes creation and rebirth. He was drawn as a man with the head of a beetle.